Category Archives: Tory Scum

TUC Side With Bosses To Back Tory Workfare Scheme

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

In an astonishing and genuinely sad day for the trade uni0n movement, the TUC have teamed up with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to issue a statement supporting unpaid work.

The TUC have sided with the bosses to sing the praises of the Tory Traineeship programme.  This unpaid scheme can involve up to five months full-time work, sometimes for giant profit making companies like BT or Virgin.  The placements are used to ‘prepare’ young people to be Apprentices, although there is no guarantee that they will be offered even this at the end of the scheme.

Just like Margaret Thatcher’s despised YTS schemes, Traineeships represent a wealth grab by greedy employers.  Once companies recognised they had to pay young people whilst they trained – now the tax payer will  pick up the tab whilst the worker gets nothing.  And just like the YTS programme was used as political cover to strip benefits from 16/17 year olds, Traineeships will be used to undermine social security payments for those under 25.  George Osborne has already announced that under 22 year olds who refuse a Traineeship will soon face the prospect of six month’s workfare somewhere else instead. 

Despite Osborne’s announcement, the TUC say in the statement that Traineeships should be voluntary.  As claimants themselves know, very little is voluntary such is the current mass benefit sanctioning culture at the DWP.   This doesn’t seem to bother the scabs running the TUC who seem to have decided that Traineeships aren’t workfare, and even if they would rather they were voluntary they appear to back them anyway.  This is an appalling attack on not just young unemployed people, but all workers who will see their own wages and conditions undermined by an army of unpaid staff.

It is hardly surprising that the CBI are salivating at the prospect of this huge subsidy for business at the expense of the working class.  Tory Skills Minister Nick Boles has joined them saying he is ‘delighted’ that the TUC support this scheme.  They no doubt dream of a day when they don’t have to pay people under 25 at all. That day may not be far away and that the TUC are helping to bring it closer is as shocking as it is shameful.

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Housing Minister Encourages Landlords To Breach Discrimination Laws

no-dssThe invisible Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has said it is “perfectly legitimate” for landlords to refuse to rent to people on Housing Benefits despite serious doubts about the legality of this practice.

Hopkins was being interviewed by Panorama, who this week revealed that the number of people who have become homeless due to a private tenancy coming to an end has trebled over the last five years.  The investigation featured buy-to-let scum Fergus Wilson who earlier in the year announced he planned to evict all of his 200 Housing Benefit tenants due to concerns about rent arrears related to welfare reforms.  This is just fine according to skiving Housing Minister Hopkins who said:  “If they actually decide they don’t want to have somebody on housing benefit in the future, that’s a perfectly legitimate thing for them to do.”

The problem is that it almost certainly isn’t under the Equalities Act – not that anyone seems to care.  As the Legal Director of Human Rights group Liberty explains here, if it can be shown that disabled people are more likely to be on benefits than non-disabled people then the policy of ‘No DSS’ is almost certainly illegal.

For those on out of work benefits due to sickness or disability then this becomes easily proven.  It is hopefully only a matter of time before someone claiming Employment Support Allowance brings a case against a landlord for this form of economic and disablist discrimination.  The landlord’s defence is likely to point out that the government’s Housing Minister said this practice was just fine.  Hopkins was once called Parliament’s ‘nastiest slimiest MP’ by one of his former colleagues.  If this is the sort of shit he comes out with when he can actually be arsed to show up for work then the cunt should stay in bed.

HT – Landless Peasant

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The Nastiest Shambles Yet, Quarter Of A Million People Awaiting New Disability Benefit Decision

atos-professionalsPersonal Independence Payments (PIP) have lurched even further into chaos with over quarter of a million people waiting months on end for a decision on the new benefit.

PIP is Iain Duncan Smith’s replacement for Disability Living Allowance, the benefit paid to many disabled people to meet costs associated with mobility or care.  The new system launched for new claims in April last year and means sick and disabled people will be forced to attend demeaning and stressful assessments carried out by the notorious Atos and bungling Capita.  The purpose of these assessments is to strip benefits from a fifth of disabled people.

335,000 people have claimed the new benefit since it began last year, but appallingly only just over 80,000  have had a decision made on their claim.  Some people have been waiting for months.  In August last year 95,500 people had claimed Personal Independence Payments meaning that the wait for some has been around eight months and counting.

For people on low incomes this wait will be devastating.  Many PIP claimants will be newly disabled, or will have faced an existing health condition becoming significantly worse.  Some will simply not have the money to pay for care or mobility until the DWP can get their act together.  This delay will mean people trapped in their homes, or going without vital care at a time in their lives when they’ve really got better fucking things to be dealing with.

Atos recently pulled out of similar assessments for out of work sickness and disability assessments and know only too well that most medical professionals are far to ethical to involve themselves in grubby benefit tests that harm people’s health.  It is possible that much of the shambles is down to a failure to recruit enough healthcare professionals who have no desire to be part of Iain Duncan Smith’s horrifying attempt at destroying disabled people’s lives.

Whatever the cause the disaster that PIP has become shows just how much the safety net of the welfare state is being swept away by a combination of callousness and incompetence.  If you become sick or disabled, and need the help you’ve already paid for to live an independent life, then expect to strung along for months and treated like dirt by the DWP.

To download the latest statistics go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-official-statistics-june-2014

Thanks to Richard Cole for the pic.

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George Osborne’s Budget Was Class War, Let’s Give The Bastard What He Wants

class-war-stencil.gifWho the fuck has got fifteen grand a year to spare that they can stash in an ISA to take advantage of George Osborne’s so-called saver’s revolution?

The answer is George Osborne, his parents, and everyone he knows.  The same could be said about David Cameron, Nick Clegg, David Miliband and even Nigel Farage.  And that is the reason why high earners with whopping savings are now presented as the norm in the UK – and the only people that matter to all of the main political parties.

The reality is that the average weekly wage is just over £500 a week, which doesn’t leave much room for an ISA if that’s all a family has to live on.  Around 5 million people are paid below the living wage, and another five million or so live from hand to mouth on meagre benefits.  Nearly six and a half million households – that’s families not individuals – have incomes so low they qualify for Working or Child Tax Credits and the vast majority are in full time work.  Four million older people qualify for Pension Credit – the subsistence benefit paid to the poorest pensioners.

There was nothing in last week’s budget for the poorest: the families queuing at foodbanks, or disabled people living in fear of the next Atos assessment.  Osborne’s decision in 2012 to impose a cut on in-work benefits by pegging annual rises below inflation means that low income workers have been effectively locked out of seeing any extra money from raising the income tax threshold.

The poorest pensioners, either now or in the future, will not see any benefit from pension reform.  Those without annuities, who struggle to afford a train ticket let alone a Lamborghini, will not be a penny better off due to Osborne’s changes.  Many will see a cut in their incomes from April as housing benefits, now also pegged below inflation, mean they have less money to pay soaring rents – a cut that has received little media attention and could lead to over 200,000 pensioners facing possible homelessness.

Half the country is now being written off, fobbed off and abandoned simply because they don’t have enough money.  The entire political class and the rich they serve now just see us as either hard-working mugs or thieving scroungers.  And they couldn’t give a fuck which, as long as the distinction keeps us at each other’s throats.  Unemployment keeps wages  low, competition for jobs ferocious and a steady supply of low paid skivvies to empty their bins and wipe their arses.  The largest bulk of the benefits bill goes to landlords, whilst much of the rest props up low wages.  Most of the spending on social security finds its way back into the pockets of the rich one way or the other.

The latest divisive trick is to talk of generational conflict as the reason why so many young people have little to look forward in the future.  You’re poor because your parents spent all the money laugh the chortling toffs as they light another cigar.  The youth are out of control and too lazy to work they whisper to the older generation – not like you, salt of the earth types, here have a game of fucking Bingo on the cheap.

But this is not generational conflict anymore than it is about skivers versus strivers – this is class war and last week’s budget shows that.  The poorer you are the less you get whilst those at the top are given hand outs and tax cuts.  We are all being fucked over, young or old, working or not working.  Never has it been more important that we recognise that, and never more vital that we escalate the fight back against all these attacks – together.

Since I’m on the subject, the new Class War election website is now up and running. 

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Bare-faced Lies, Bluff and Bullshit Are All Iain Duncan Smith Has Left As Millions Suffer

IDSThe list goes on and on.  The Public Accounts Committee, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Office for National Statistics, the National Audit Office, the Archbishop of Westminster, even the Tory dominated Policy Exchange and coalition partners the Lib Dems, all of these people are wrong or lying said the increasingly bewildered Iain Duncan Smith in a rare appearance on the Sunday Politics this morning (starts at 13.20).

Much of the interview concentrated on the launch of Universal Credit, which has seen just a few thousand people start on the new benefit and tens of millions squandered due to bungled IT systems.  It is difficult to know for sure just how badly the launch of Universal Credit is going wrong, but IDS did admit that the new system will now not be fully in place until 2018.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith can bullshit his way out of awkward questions on the launch of Universal Credit – mainly because no-one, including him, knows what the fuck’s really going on behind the scenes – he quickly resorted to outright lies when asked about other benefit reforms.

The Work Programme is working according to the Secretary of State, despite the appalling performance figures which are getting steadily worse as time goes on*.  IDS then lied that the companies running the scheme don’t get paid until someone has been in work continuously for six months.  In truth providers receive an up front start fee for everyone who joins the Work Programme. Long term unemployment is falling he then claimed, yet the most recent figures from the ONS show that the number of people who have been out of work for over two years is up 9000 from a year earlier.  He then bluffed that the scheme was better than any programme run by the Labour Government, which would hardly be a ringing endorsement even if it were true, and it isn’t.

On the Bedroom Tax IDS pretended that he didn’t mean it when he hauled the family of a disabled child through the appeal courts in an effort to overturn a ruling on a spare bedroom.  Astonishingly he said he now agreed with the court decision that he spent our money appealing against.  He then claimed that the courts had backed the Government on all the decisions  relating to disabled adults facing the Bedroom Tax, completely ignoring a string of recent benefit tribunal decisions where local authorities lost bedroom tax cases.

On Housing Benefit overall, he lambasted the amount spent on the benefit under Labour whilst avoiding the stark fact that the number of people needing to claim for help with their rent hit an all time high last Summer.  The Housing Benefit bill will only get bigger as less people qualify for social housing under new rules, and even those who have them are forced into the private sector due to the Bedroom Tax.

When quizzed about Tory think-tank the Policy Exchange’s recent mild criticism of benefit sanctions, IDS claimed they’d  got their figures wrong.  In perhaps his most bare-faced lie, he blustered that people who have had benefits sanctioned can ‘immediately’ and ‘straight away’ get a payment from the Hardship Fund.  In truth most claimants have to wait 15 days before Hardship Payments are available (PDF – ref: 35300) and even then not everyone qualifies for this meagre support .  He then claimed the DWP had a billion pounds to support people facing benefit sanctions, including Crisis Loans.  He seems to have forgotten that he abolished Crisis Loans in April last year.

Finally IDS was asked about child poverty, which he repeatedly claimed was falling despite an enormous fucking graph behind his head which showed the exact opposite.  According to IDS this discrepancy is because the IFS, who produced the figures, measure poverty according to the “marginal income line” – in other words how much money someone has.  In future child poverty will be measured according to Iain Duncan Smith’s ever changing personal prejudices.  He says he will produce new figures showing that the number of poor children is actually falling just as soon as he can be bothered to make them up.

Iain Duncan Smith is now barely even pretending to tell the truth as his welfare reforms unravel in every direction.  It is a pitiful sight to watch, but the impact of his delusions are tragic.  People are dying because of Iain Duncan Smith.  Families are becoming homeless and children going hungry, whilst sick and disabled people are being driven to despair.  Rarely has one man’s arrogance caused so much suffering.  There is no more damning indictment of our so-called democracy then a dishonest and callous fool like Iain Duncan Smith being able to claw his way to power over millions of lives.

*the most recent Work Programme figures were sneaked out in the Christmas break and I didn’t have the time to cover them.  They showed that the steady decline in the number of successful job outcomes is continuing.

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More Workfare, More Sanctions, Iain Duncan Smith’s Brutal and Barmy Plan To End Child Poverty

Iain-Duncan-Smith415The Government’s latest child poverty strategy is a blueprint for pushing already struggling single parents into financial destitution with benefit sanctions and workfare.

This year’s five reasons for child poverty are predictably unemployment, along with low levels of qualifications, single parent families, having more than three children and ill health.  Such is Iain Duncan Smith’s desperation to blame children being poor on anything other than not having enough money that this is his fourth re-definition of poverty in just three years.  Previous reasons for poverty, which included step-parents, mothers with mental health problems, being disabled, and of course drugs, no longer make the top five.

The main thrust of the latest strategy is to tackle what is repeatedly referred to as ‘worklessness’ – as if raising children requires no effort at all.  The measures to combat this great social ill – which can mean parents spending time raising their young children instead of working for Tesco – are unpaid work and benefit sanctions.

Lone parents are to face Jobcentre harassment from the time their child is three, with the possibility of mandatory training.  Parents of older children leaving the Work Programme will be sent on the same woefully misnamed ‘Help To Work’ scheme that single unemployed people are to face from April.  For many this will mean workfare, as they are forced to attend Community Work Placements.  Others will be forced to attend the Jobcentre everyday, where they will not doubt spend most of the day in a queue rather than actually looking for a job.

One slip, such as a missed meeting, or being late for ‘work related activity’,  will result in a benefit sanction – one of the real reasons why so many children are living in desperate poverty  Alongside these increased conditions for claiming benefits Iain Duncan Smith is still pretending that Universal Credit will not only happen (stop laughing) but will also magically lift 300,000 children out of poverty overnight.  Mostly this will be done by threatening part time and low paid workers with in-work benefits being stopped if they fail to spend every waking hour they aren’t at work looking for a better paid job.

There is barely anything in this child poverty strategy for children and parents themselves.  Plans to give free school meals to all infant school children had already been announced and simply represents one of increasingly meagre scraps thrown down from the top table to stop Nick Clegg crying at Cabinet Meetings.  Alongside some tinkering with utility bills – which will merely save a handful of families a few pence – other measures for destitute families include keeping down the cost of petrol and building more affordable homes – like the ones built in Stratford last year which charge £323 in rent a week for a two bedroom flat.

Measures to strengthen the minimum wage, also hinted at in the document, have already been torpedoed by the pitiful 3% increase announced this week.  At a time when prices of essentials such as food and fuel are still soaring, in-work benefits, such as Housing Benefits and Tax Credits, will still only rise by 1% this year, a move which the Government themselves admit will drive a further 200,000 children into poverty.  Every poor family will get a little bit poorer from April this year.

In a humiliating blow for Iain Duncan Smith, none of the measures in this strategy will actually mean anything.  The Secretary of State, along with the Lib Dems, had hoped to rewrite the rules by enshrining new definitions of child poverty as official targets.  George Osborne – who couldn’t give a fuck about hungry children but does seem to understand that the main reason for poverty is not having enough money – has recognised this for the bollocks it is and put the brakes on. This will be no relief to struggling parents as the Treasury draws up ever more vicious ways to cut the incomes of the poor.

The lowest income households are now trapped between the wild delusions of the messianic Work and Pensions Secretary and the cut-throat brutality of the Chancellor.  Osborne’s only interest is stealing enough money from the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich.  Iain Duncan Smith seems  convinced his backwards strategy to blame unemployment on unemployed people and poverty on the poor will magically create enough well paid jobs for everyone to do overnight.  Even the Bedroom Tax and the Benefit Cap – two of the most vicious cuts to social security – will help bring down child poverty according to this latest strategy. Businesses are also to be encouraged to offer more Work Experience places, as if forced unpaid work will somehow put food on the table.

It would be laughable if it weren’t real and you almost couldn’t make it up.  But the real tragedy is that Iain Duncan Smith is making things up, with little regard for either the evidence or the suffering he has already caused.  There will be more poor children because of Iain Duncan Smith, possibly up to a million more.  One man’s arrogance did this, and that must never be forgotten as the social costs of this onslaught resonate throughout future decades.

The strategy is now open to consultation and can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/child-poverty-a-draft-strategy

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Homes Not Jails: Sleeping Rough Is Not A Crime – Protest Tomorrow 26th February!

boris-homes-not-jailsWith Iain Duncan Smith’s bungled welfare reforms driving many of the lowest income Londoners from their homes, the clown Mayor of London is ensuring that even the streets are not safe for those being socially cleansed from the capital.

A new policing operation in six London boroughs will treat homeless people like criminals with arrests, harassment and even destruction of personal property to be inflicted on those who cannot afford a home.

A protest against this obscene measure has been called outside the Mayor’s Question Time tomorrow Wednesday 26th February at 10am, details below.

“The Met have announced plans to make ‘rough sleeping’ a crime in 6 London boroughs.  Operation Encompass will be in effect in Camden, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark, Westminster and  Croydon.

We are opposed to this latest attack on Homeless people and will protest at City Hall to tell Boris Johnson and the GLA to call off this hideous campaign criminalising some of the most vulnerable people in our city.

Already there have been arrests of people whose only crime is to be homeless due to the lack of Shelter spaces and suitable accommodation.

We ask people to support our opposition by attending and circulating the information amongst their networks and groups.

The biggest crime of all is the fact that people are homeless today.”

Meet on Wednesday 26 February 2014 10.00 am, London Assembly (Mayor’s Question Time), City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1.

Full details on facebook – please share, tweet and help spread the word: https://www.facebook.com/events/714164025295447/

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